Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I'm diggin' it....

It's really way to early to start planting gardens on the northern prairies where I live, but it's never too early to start digging up the dandelions, weeds and grasses that try to invade my garden beds.   The past few days I have been trying to shape up my beds so there are no weeds or undesirables left in them.  Then the plan is to mulch.  Hubs stacked up the last of the winter firewood for me near the back garden.  Perhaps we'll use it in the fire pit this summer.  Do you see those two logs with the holes in them?  I am hoping to find a wren's nest in them this summer.  Wouldn't that be great?  I love house wrens.

As I was digging through one of my wildflower beds, I noticed that a particular plant, which I cannot properly name, has become an invader and has tried to take over the Flower World of my garden.  Since I could never seem to remember it's name, I called it the Fairy Flower because upon its hardy stalk, it had a spike of delicate, tiny, lavender flowers that almost looked like mini-snapdragons.  I remember the day I bought three little starts.  I was so excited to think that one day they would be full-grown and abundantly blooming, and I would be smiling proudly at such plants as they.  However,  I have been digging this prolific menace for days.  It appears to have dropped a lot of seed for seedlings and has also sent a system of runners throughout the garden bed.  I do not like that.  Not one little bit.  Perhaps it is my fault, but I do recall pulling a lot of the Fairy Dragon Plant out last summer as I saw it  flourishing taking over, but I had no idea it would try to dominate the Flower World of my garden like this!  There will be NO world domination happenin' here!  So I'm diggin' it.

I have always chosen flowers that are "easy to grow" and that have xeric qualities since we usually have very dry summers and water is often in short supply.  I have found though, that many xeric plants are very invasive and must be watched like a hawk.  You turn your back for a moment and they start to crowd and push and ultimately dominate the garden.  I'll name a few of my hardiest growers:  Iris, Hollyhocks, Black-eyed Susan, Catmint, Calendula, Poppies, Blue Flax, Columbine, Shasta Daisy, Bachelor Buttons and Cosmos.  Some of the more polite growers that live in my gardens are:   Tulips, Daffodils, Alium, and Lilies -- bulb-growers who come up, bloom, and fade away quietly and politely.  Of course, you sometimes must split bulbs or else they might grow lazy and stop blooming, but they are not garden invaders.  I also like my Bleeding Hearts and Peonies.  They also have their joyous burst and then quietly fade and gather in the sunshine with their leaves until fall.

 The first of the daffodils are about to pop!

Giant Zinnias, picture from SCNLA
I am thinking that this year I will plant some simple annuals in place of the nasty Dragon Flowers.  I have always loved zinnias.  My mom grew many varieties when we were kids and I truly love them all, but my favorites are the big ones called Giants or State Fair like the ones above.  They remind me of dahlias.  I think I might even plant several varieties of those robust marigolds this year.  I appreciate that they bloom and bloom and never give up.  I like a flowers that works that hard and blooms so furiously!  As always, I will have my terra cotta pots of bright red geraniums on the front porch.  It's my tradition.  I like red.

The veggie gardens are in the back of my mind.  I will likely not plant those until sometime around Memorial Day.  It's still quite cold here overnight -- freezing or below -- so I cannot put out plants or start seedlings yet.  But I do have my onion sets bought and I am envisioning planting them along with  peas and lettuces before Memorial Day.  I am so ready for eating fresh, green lettuces like Peter Rabbit.  Yum!  I do have some lovely chives up, and I have been snipping them into various salads and salsas, even scrambled eggs -- sprinkling them like confetti.  Fresh.  Green.

We are expecting warmer days to come.  Warm 70 degree days!  Hurray!  You know where I'll be?  Diggin'.  You too?

13 comments:

  1. I hope so, Jody! I have some weeds to pull. Your garden is going to be delicious!

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  2. I'm just starting to get diggin' --- it's pretty chilly yet, but hopefully SOON! My veggie garden has been tilled and is just waiting for me to be 100% sure there won't be another frosty night.

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  3. Well my little garden is in desperate need of TLC as I have neglected it. Daffodils have long gone and the bluebells are faded and ready to sleep. This has been he driest April we have had in years. That puts me into a happy state but unfortunately not so for the English countryside. You've inspired me Jody to get digging and mulching my land, but I'm going to have to speed up to benefit with some colour and edibles;)

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  4. Speaking of Peter Rabbit, what do you do to keep him out of your gardens? Our rabbits have eaten most of my fun/easy plants and it drives me crazy. Luckily they don't bother my hollyhocks. I love zinnias too and I'd like to try them -- I'm hoping their not a rabbit favorite!

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  5. Miss Thimble,

    Lucky for me, I don't have rabbits nibbling my garden. I do, however, have a deer problem in the fall when everything in the veggie patch is ripening. The only solution --> FENCE. Last year the guys set up an electric fence for me around my veggie patch and it really worked, except when I forgot to turn it on overnight. For bunnies, I suppose chicken wire would work. I know we don't always like to see fences around things, but that's what keeps pests out best.

    I'm glad everybody's getting inspired to get diggin'.
    Jody

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  6. Oooh, love this time of year. Nothing like veggies freshly pulled and eaten within the hour! :)

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  7. Girl, I'm diggin it too...just not the same menace...down here in New Mexico, which is about two feet from hell...we have other issues...so keep smiling and keep diggin!

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  8. I have tried bringing wild flowers into my beds only to find they are really intrusive! Spiderwort is one of the worst, but it is pretty so I've given up and just let it have its show of blue. Another was a flower I brought from the edge of the hayfield. The first year it grew to about 8 feet; I decided I didn't need that, but I still pull out plants every year. I have better luck with bulbs because our summers usually turn too dry for annuals and we have to conserve the well water for the chickens.

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  9. I think it's so funny that you praise cosmo's, bachelor button's, and black eyed susans. I've grown those three things from seed in the horrid desert of Eastern NM and also North of Flagstaff in that desolate windy region too. God bless those flower's for growing despite the wind, heat and lack of rain. I have great luck with yarrow and lavender too.

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  10. Oh, I hear you Lil Red Hen. I'm going to give this diggin' up a good Try and see what happens. I've transplanted stuff growing out on the prairie too and sometimes it works nicely but often its overpowering in a yard garden.

    Rain Barnes,
    Those tough plants can really tolerate a lot, can't they? I think we must have very similar conditions (in summer). What is one woman's weed is another woman's flower.

    Jody

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  11. I love the way you get to experience spring after it has pretty much left Texas. It has been beautiful here, but warm enough to Produce Allergies.

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  12. I love having a bright zinnia in the middle of my vegetables somewhere...especially a pale pink or bright orange one. (sigh) It's fun to create our rustic and productive works of art. :-)

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  13. 70, ahh. I have been working a lot in the garden and drizzel!! I am battling blackberries. I keep tellling myself this summer I will be glad I did!! Clarice

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